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The Price of Freedom

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  • sossteve2001
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY July 4, 2005 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
    Message 1 of 8 , Jul 3, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
      July 4, 2005

      "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
      I will fear no evil for you are with me." Psalm 23.

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and
      do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery . . .
      You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your
      freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in
      love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your
      neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:1 and 13-14

      Two hundred and twenty-nine years ago, men fought a war because they
      believed in their right to be free. They took a stand for freedom
      against the tyrant king of England and paid the ultimate price for
      what they believed. Upon the foundation of their faith, tyranny was
      defeated and we regained our right to be free. Today, on
      Independence Day, we celebrate their victory.

      Two thousand years ago, a man named Jesus fought a spiritual war
      because He believed in the right God had given all men to be free.
      He took a stand for freedom against the tyrant Prince of this World
      and paid the ultimate price for what He believed. Upon the
      foundation of His faith, tyranny was defeated and we regained our
      right to be free. At Easter, the Christian world celebrates His
      victory.

      Any student of history knows that the Revolutionary War did not make
      this nation free. Any student of the Bible also knows that the
      spiritual war Jesus won did not make all God's children free. There
      is a wide canyon of difference between the right to be free and
      actual freedom. That canyon is only bridged when we reach out to
      claim what is rightfully ours. And once that bridge head is
      established, it must be held on to, maintained and defended against
      the elements of tyranny that will inevitably come to tear it down.

      Since the revolution, the men and women of this nation have fought in
      a civil war, two world wars, and numerous "regional" conflicts to
      defeat a variety of earthly tyrants. Since the first Easter, men
      and women have fought a continuing spiritual battle against the one
      who prowls "around like a roaring lion looking for someone to
      devour" (1 Peter 5:8). The history of this planet bears witness to
      the truth that wherever men and women are free there will be tyrants
      enough seeking to take that freedom away. But it is equally true
      that tyrants (earthly and spiritual) will never find a victory as
      long as there are people who share the same selfless faith first
      demonstrated by Jesus on the cross at Calvary and then mirrored by
      the patriots at Valley Forge.

      I hope all of you have a wonderful Independence Day. As you watch
      the fireworks light up the night sky, please join me in a heartfelt
      prayer of thanks to our Father. Thanks for our freedom. Thanks for
      those who have defended it in the past and those who defend it still
      today. And most of all - thanks for His Son and the love that sent
      Him to this world to set us free.

      Sheltered under His wing and overwhelmed by His love,
      Steve



      It was a glorious morning. The sun was shining and the wind was from
      the southeast . . . Thomas Jefferson arrived early at the
      statehouse. The temperature was 72.5 degrees and the horseflies
      weren't nearly so bad at that hour. It was a lovely room, very large,
      with gleaming white walls. The chairs were comfortable. The moment
      the door was shut, and it was always kept locked, the room became an
      oven. The tall windows were shut, so that loud quarreling voices
      could not be heard by passersby. Small openings atop the windows
      allowed a slight stir of air, and also a large number of horseflies.
      Jefferson records that "the horseflies were dexterous in finding
      necks, and the silk of stocking was nothing to them." All discussion
      was punctuated by the slap of hands on necks.

      The Declaration of Independence was read aloud once more, and debate
      resumed. Though Jefferson was the best writer of all of them, he had
      been somewhat verbose. Congress hacked the excess away. They did a
      good job, as a side-by-side comparison of the rough draft and the
      final text shows. Here in this hall Patrick Henry had once
      thundered: " I am no longer a Virginian, Sir, but an American." But
      today the loud, sometimes bitter argument stilled, and without
      fanfare the vote was taken from north to south by colonies, as was
      the custom. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was
      adopted.

      There were no trumpets blown. No one stood on his chair and cheered.
      The afternoon was waning and Congress had no thought of delaying the
      full calendar of routine business on its hands. For several hours
      they worked on many other problems before adjourning for the day.

      What kind of men were the 56 signers who adopted the Declaration of
      Independence and who, by their signing, committed an act of treason
      against the crown? I imagine that many of you are somewhat surprised
      at the names not there: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton,
      Patrick Henry. All were elsewhere.

      Ben Franklin was the only really old man. Eighteen were under 40;
      three were in their 20s. Of the 56 almost half -24- were judges and
      lawyers. Eleven were merchants, 9 were landowners and farmers, and
      the remaining 12 were doctors, ministers, and politicians. With only
      a few exceptions, such as Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, these were
      men of substantial property. All but two had families. The vast
      majority were men of education and standing in their communities.
      They had economic security as few men had in the 18th century.

      Each had more to lose from revolution than he had to gain by it. John
      Hancock, one of the richest men in America, already had a price of
      500 pounds on his head. He signed in enormous letters so "that his
      Majesty could now read his name without glasses and could now double
      the reward." Ben Franklin wryly noted: "Indeed we must all hang
      together, otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately." Fat
      Benjamin Harrison of Virginia told tiny Elbridge Gerry of
      Massachusetts: "With me it will all be over in a minute, but you ,
      you will be dancing on air an hour after I am gone.

      These men knew what they risked. The penalty for treason was death by
      hanging. And remember: a great British fleet was already at anchor in
      New York Harbor.

      They were sober men. There were no dreamy-eyed intellectuals or draft
      card burners here. They were far from hot-eyed fanatics, yammering
      for an explosion. They simply asked for the status quo. It was change
      they resisted. It was equality with the mother country they desired.
      It was taxation with representation they sought. They were all
      conservatives, yet they rebelled.

      It was principle, not property, that had brought these men to
      Philadelphia. Two of them became presidents of the United States.
      Seven of them became state governors. One died in office as vice
      president of the United States. Several would go on to be U.S.
      Senators. One, the richest man in America, in 1828, founded the
      Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. One, a delegate from Philadelphia, was
      the only real poet, musician and philosopher of the signers (it was
      he, Francis Hopkinson - not Betsy Ross who designed the United States
      flag). Richard Henry Lee, A delegate from Virginia, had introduced
      the resolution to adopt the Declaration of Independence in June of
      1776. He was prophetic in his concluding remarks:

      "Why then sir, why do we longer delay? Why still deliberate? Let this
      happy day give birth to an American Republic. Let her arise not to
      devastate and to conquer but to reestablish the reign of peace and
      law. The eyes of Europe are fixed upon us. She demands of us a living
      example of freedom that may exhibit a contrast in the felicity of the
      citizen to the ever increasing tyranny which desolates her polluted
      shores. She invites us to prepare an asylum where the unhappy may
      find solace, and the persecuted repost. If we are not this day
      wanting in our duty, the names of the American Legislatures of 1776
      will be placed by posterity at the side of all of those whose memory
      has been and ever will be dear to virtuous men and good citizens."

      Though the resolution was formally adopted July 4, it was not until
      July 8 that two of the states authorized their delegates to sign, and
      it was not until August 2 that the signers met at Philadelphia to
      actually put their names to the Declaration.

      William Ellery, delegate from Rhode Island, was curious to see the
      signers' faces as they committed this supreme act of personal
      courage. He saw some men sign quickly, "but in no face was he able to
      discern real fear." Stephan Hopkins, Ellery's colleague from Rhode
      Island, was a man past 60. As he signed with a shaking pen, he
      declared: "My hand trembles, but my heart does not."

      Even before the list was published, the British marked down every
      member of Congress suspected of having put his name to treason. All
      of them became the objects of vicious manhunts. Some were taken.
      Some, like Jefferson, had narrow escapes. All who had property or
      families near British strongholds suffered.

      Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of
      wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and
      imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives,
      sons or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were
      brutally treated. All were at one time or another the victims of
      manhunts and driven from their homes. Twelve signers had their homes
      completely burned. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one
      defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor, and the
      nation they sacrificed so much to create is still intact.

      The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence proved by their
      every deed that they made no idle boast when they composed the most
      magnificent curtain line in history. "And for the support of this
      Declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine
      providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes,
      and our sacred honor."

      - Rush H. Limbaugh, Jr.

      My friends, I know you have a copy of the Declaration of Independence
      somewhere around the house - in an old history book (newer ones may
      well omit it), an encyclopedia, or one of those artificially
      aged "parchments" we all got in school years ago. I suggest that
      each of you take the time this month to read through the text of the
      declaration, one of the most noble and beautiful political documents
      in human history.

      There is no more profound sentence than this: "We hold these truths
      to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are
      endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among
      these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness?"

      These are far more than mere poetic words. The underlying ideas that
      infuse every sentence of this treatise have sustained this nation for
      more than two centuries. They were forged in the crucible of great
      sacrifice. They are living words that spring from and satisfy the
      deepest cries for liberty in the human spirit.

      "Sacred honor" isn't a phrase we use much these days, but every
      America Life is touched by the bounty of this, the Founders' legacy.
      It is freedom, tested by blood, and watered with tears.

      -Rush Limbaugh, As published in "The Limbaugh Letter" July 1996
      edition

      ______________________________________________________________________
      __________________

      Copyright © 1998 - 2005 by Stephen J. Hall - Notes from the Valley
      and Humor from the Valley are meant to brighten your day and
      encourage you along the way. If you are blessed by them, please feel
      free to make copies and pass them along to others. If you have
      something you'd like to contribute to a future edition or would like
      to ask us a question or make a comment, please contact us at:
      sossteve@...
      ______________________________________________________________________
      __________________

      Your love, God, is my song, and I'll sing it! I'm forever telling
      everyone how faithful you are. I'll never quit telling the story of
      your love . . . (Psalm 89:1-2 The Message)
    • Stephen J. Hall
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY July 4, 2006 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
      Message 2 of 8 , Jun 30, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
        July 4, 2006

        "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
        I will fear no evil for you are with me." Psalm 23.

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and
        do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery . . .
        You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your
        freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in
        love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your
        neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:1 and 13-14

        Two hundred and thirty years ago, men fought a war because they
        believed in their right to be free. They took a stand for freedom
        against the tyrant king of England and paid the ultimate price for
        what they believed. Upon the foundation of their faith and
        sacrifice, tyranny was defeated and we regained our right to be
        free. Today, on Independence Day, we celebrate their victory.

        Two thousand years ago, a man named Jesus fought a spiritual war
        because He believed in the right God had given all men to be free.
        He took a stand for freedom against the tyrant Prince of this World
        and paid the ultimate price for what He believed. Upon the
        foundation of His faith and sacrifice, tyranny was defeated and we
        regained our right to be free. At Easter, the Christian world
        celebrates His victory.

        Any student of history knows that the Revolutionary War did not make
        this nation free. Any student of the Bible also knows that the
        spiritual war Jesus won did not make all God's children free. There
        is a wide canyon of difference between the right to be free and
        actual freedom. That canyon is only bridged when we reach out to
        claim what is rightfully ours. And once that bridge head is
        established, it must be held on to, maintained and defended against
        the elements of tyranny that will inevitably come to tear it down.

        Since the revolution, the men and women of this nation have fought
        in a civil war, two world wars, and numerous "regional" conflicts to
        defeat a variety of earthly tyrants. Since the first Easter, men
        and women have fought a continuing spiritual battle against the one
        who prowls "around like a roaring lion looking for someone to
        devour" (1 Peter 5:8). The history of this planet bears witness to
        the truth that wherever men and women are free there will be tyrants
        enough seeking to take that freedom away. But it is equally true
        that tyrants (earthly and spiritual) will never find a victory as
        long as there are people who share the same selfless faith first
        demonstrated by Jesus on the cross at Calvary and then mirrored by
        the patriots at Valley Forge.

        I hope all of you have a wonderful Independence Day. As you watch
        the fireworks light up the night sky, please join me in a heartfelt
        prayer of thanks to our Father. Thanks for our freedom. Thanks for
        those who have defended it in the past and those who are defending
        it still today. And most of all - thanks for His Son and the love
        that sent Him to this world to set us free.

        Sheltered under His wing and overwhelmed by His love,
        Steve



        It was a glorious morning. The sun was shining and the wind was from
        the southeast . . . Thomas Jefferson arrived early at the
        statehouse. The temperature was 72.5 degrees and the horseflies
        weren't nearly so bad at that hour. It was a lovely room, very
        large, with gleaming white walls. The chairs were comfortable. The
        moment the door was shut, and it was always kept locked, the room
        became an oven. The tall windows were shut, so that loud quarreling
        voices could not be heard by passersby. Small openings atop the
        windows allowed a slight stir of air, and also a large number of
        horseflies. Jefferson records that "the horseflies were dexterous in
        finding necks, and the silk of stocking was nothing to them." All
        discussion was punctuated by the slap of hands on necks.

        The Declaration of Independence was read aloud once more, and debate
        resumed. Though Jefferson was the best writer of all of them, he had
        been somewhat verbose. Congress hacked the excess away. They did a
        good job, as a side-by-side comparison of the rough draft and the
        final text shows. Here in this hall Patrick Henry had once
        thundered: " I am no longer a Virginian, Sir, but an American." But
        today the loud, sometimes bitter argument stilled, and without
        fanfare the vote was taken from north to south by colonies, as was
        the custom. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was
        adopted.

        There were no trumpets blown. No one stood on his chair and cheered.
        The afternoon was waning and Congress had no thought of delaying the
        full calendar of routine business on its hands. For several hours
        they worked on many other problems before adjourning for the day.

        What kind of men were the 56 signers who adopted the Declaration of
        Independence and who, by their signing, committed an act of treason
        against the crown? I imagine that many of you are somewhat
        surprised at the names not there: George Washington, Alexander
        Hamilton, Patrick Henry. All were elsewhere.

        Ben Franklin was the only really old man. Eighteen were under 40;
        three were in their 20s. Of the 56 almost half -24- were judges and
        lawyers. Eleven were merchants, 9 were landowners and farmers, and
        the remaining 12 were doctors, ministers, and politicians. With
        only a few exceptions, such as Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, these
        were men of substantial property. All but two had families. The vast
        majority were men of education and standing in their communities.
        They had economic security as few men had in the 18th century.

        Each had more to lose from revolution than he had to gain by it.
        John Hancock, one of the richest men in America, already had a price
        of 500 pounds on his head. He signed in enormous letters so "that
        his Majesty could now read his name without glasses and could now
        double the reward." Ben Franklin wryly noted: "Indeed we must all
        hang together, otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately."
        Fat Benjamin Harrison of Virginia told tiny Elbridge Gerry of
        Massachusetts: "With me it will all be over in a minute, but you ,
        you will be dancing on air an hour after I am gone.

        These men knew what they risked. The penalty for treason was death
        by hanging. And remember: a great British fleet was already at
        anchor in New York Harbor.

        They were sober men. There were no dreamy-eyed intellectuals or
        draft card burners here. They were far from hot-eyed fanatics,
        yammering for an explosion. They simply asked for the status quo. It
        was change they resisted. It was equality with the mother country
        they desired. It was taxation with representation they sought. They
        were all conservatives, yet they rebelled.

        It was principle, not property, that had brought these men to
        Philadelphia. Two of them became presidents of the United States.
        Seven of them became state governors. One died in office as vice
        president of the United States. Several would go on to be U.S.
        Senators. One, the richest man in America, in 1828, founded the
        Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. One, a delegate from Philadelphia, was
        the only real poet, musician and philosopher of the signers (it was
        he, Francis Hopkinson - not Betsy Ross who designed the United
        States flag). Richard Henry Lee, A delegate from Virginia, had
        introduced the resolution to adopt the Declaration of Independence
        in June of 1776. He was prophetic in his concluding remarks:

        "Why then sir, why do we longer delay? Why still deliberate? Let
        this happy day give birth to an American Republic. Let her arise not
        to devastate and to conquer but to reestablish the reign of peace
        and law. The eyes of Europe are fixed upon us. She demands of us a
        living example of freedom that may exhibit a contrast in the
        felicity of the citizen to the ever increasing tyranny which
        desolates her polluted shores. She invites us to prepare an asylum
        where the unhappy may find solace, and the persecuted repost. If we
        are not this day wanting in our duty, the names of the American
        Legislatures of 1776 will be placed by posterity at the side of all
        of those whose memory has been and ever will be dear to virtuous men
        and good citizens."

        Though the resolution was formally adopted July 4, it was not until
        July 8 that two of the states authorized their delegates to sign,
        and it was not until August 2 that the signers met at Philadelphia
        to actually put their names to the Declaration.

        William Ellery, delegate from Rhode Island, was curious to see the
        signers' faces as they committed this supreme act of personal
        courage. He saw some men sign quickly, "but in no face was he able
        to discern real fear." Stephan Hopkins, Ellery's colleague from
        Rhode Island, was a man past 60. As he signed with a shaking pen, he
        declared: "My hand trembles, but my heart does not."

        Even before the list was published, the British marked down every
        member of Congress suspected of having put his name to treason. All
        of them became the objects of vicious manhunts. Some were taken.
        Some, like Jefferson, had narrow escapes. All who had property or
        families near British strongholds suffered.

        Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of
        wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and
        imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives,
        sons or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were
        brutally treated. All were at one time or another the victims of
        manhunts and driven from their homes. Twelve signers had their homes
        completely burned. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one
        defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor, and the
        nation they sacrificed so much to create is still intact.

        The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence proved by their
        every deed that they made no idle boast when they composed the most
        magnificent curtain line in history. "And for the support of this
        Declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine
        providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our
        fortunes, and our sacred honor."

        - Rush H. Limbaugh, Jr.

        My friends, I know you have a copy of the Declaration of
        Independence somewhere around the house - in an old history book
        (newer ones may well omit it), an encyclopedia, or one of those
        artificially aged "parchments" we all got in school years ago. I
        suggest that each of you take the time this month to read through
        the text of the declaration, one of the most noble and beautiful
        political documents in human history.

        There is no more profound sentence than this: "We hold these truths
        to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are
        endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among
        these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness?"

        These are far more than mere poetic words. The underlying ideas that
        infuse every sentence of this treatise have sustained this nation
        for more than two centuries. They were forged in the crucible of
        great sacrifice. They are living words that spring from and satisfy
        the deepest cries for liberty in the human spirit.

        "Sacred honor" isn't a phrase we use much these days, but every
        America Life is touched by the bounty of this, the Founders' legacy.
        It is freedom, tested by blood, and watered with tears.

        -Rush Limbaugh, As published in "The Limbaugh Letter" July 1996
        edition
        _____________________________________________________________________
        ___________________

        Copyright © 1998 - 2006 by Stephen J. Hall - Notes from the
        Valley and Humor from the Valley are meant to brighten your day and
        encourage you along the way. If you are blessed by them, please
        feel free to make copies and pass them along to others. If you
        have something you'd like to contribute to a future edition or would
        like to ask us a question or make a comment, please contact us at:
        steveh.rbis@...
        _____________________________________________________________
        ___________________________

        Your love, God, is my song, and I'll sing it! I'm forever telling
        everyone how faithful you are. I'll never quit telling the story of
        your love . . . (Psalm 89:1-2 The Message)
      • Stephen J. Hall
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY July 4, 2007 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
        Message 3 of 8 , Jul 4, 2007
        • 0 Attachment
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
          July 4, 2007

          "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
          I will fear no evil for you are with me." Psalm 23.

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and
          do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery . . .
          You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your
          freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in
          love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your
          neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:1 and 13-14

          Two hundred and thirty-one years ago, men fought a war because they
          believed in their right to be free. They took a stand for freedom
          against the tyrant king of England and paid the ultimate price for
          what they believed. Upon the foundation of their faith, tyranny was
          defeated and we regained our right to be free. Today, on
          Independence Day, we celebrate their victory.

          Two thousand years ago, a man named Jesus fought a spiritual war
          because He believed in the right God had given all men to be free.
          He took a stand for freedom against the tyrant Prince of this World
          and paid the ultimate price for what He believed. Upon the
          foundation of His faith, tyranny was defeated and we regained our
          right to be free. At Easter, the Christian world celebrates His
          victory.

          Any student of history knows that the Revolutionary War did not make
          this nation free. Any student of the Bible also knows that the
          spiritual war Jesus won did not make all God's children free. There
          is a wide canyon of difference between the right to be free and
          actual freedom. That canyon is only bridged when we reach out to
          claim what is rightfully ours. And once that bridge head is
          established, it must be held on to, maintained and defended against
          the elements of tyranny that will inevitably come to tear it down.

          Since the revolution, the men and women of this nation have fought in
          a civil war, two world wars, and numerous "regional" conflicts to
          defeat a variety of earthly tyrants. Since the first Easter, men
          and women have fought a continuing spiritual battle against the one
          who prowls "around like a roaring lion looking for someone to
          devour" (1 Peter 5:8). The history of this planet bears witness to
          the truth that wherever men and women are free there will be tyrants
          enough seeking to take that freedom away. But it is equally true
          that tyrants (earthly and spiritual) will never find a victory as
          long as there are people who share the same selfless faith first
          demonstrated by Jesus on the cross at Calvary and then mirrored by
          the patriots at Valley Forge.

          I hope all of you have a wonderful Independence Day. As you watch
          the fireworks light up the night sky, please join me in a heartfelt
          prayer of thanks to our Father. Thanks for our freedom. Thanks for
          those who have defended it in the past and those who defend it still
          today. And most of all - thanks for His Son and the love that sent
          Him to this world to set us free.

          Sheltered under His wing and overwhelmed by His love,
          Steve



          It was a glorious morning. The sun was shining and the wind was from
          the southeast . . . Thomas Jefferson arrived early at the
          statehouse. The temperature was 72.5 degrees and the horseflies
          weren't nearly so bad at that hour. It was a lovely room, very large,
          with gleaming white walls. The chairs were comfortable. The moment
          the door was shut, and it was always kept locked, the room became an
          oven. The tall windows were shut, so that loud quarreling voices
          could not be heard by passersby. Small openings atop the windows
          allowed a slight stir of air, and also a large number of horseflies.
          Jefferson records that "the horseflies were dexterous in finding
          necks, and the silk of stocking was nothing to them." All discussion
          was punctuated by the slap of hands on necks.

          The Declaration of Independence was read aloud once more, and debate
          resumed. Though Jefferson was the best writer of all of them, he had
          been somewhat verbose. Congress hacked the excess away. They did a
          good job, as a side-by-side comparison of the rough draft and the
          final text shows. Here in this hall Patrick Henry had once
          thundered: " I am no longer a Virginian, Sir, but an American." But
          today the loud, sometimes bitter argument stilled, and without
          fanfare the vote was taken from north to south by colonies, as was
          the custom. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was
          adopted.

          There were no trumpets blown. No one stood on his chair and cheered.
          The afternoon was waning and Congress had no thought of delaying the
          full calendar of routine business on its hands. For several hours
          they worked on many other problems before adjourning for the day.

          What kind of men were the 56 signers who adopted the Declaration of
          Independence and who, by their signing, committed an act of treason
          against the crown? I imagine that many of you are somewhat surprised
          at the names not there: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton,
          Patrick Henry. All were elsewhere.

          Ben Franklin was the only really old man. Eighteen were under 40;
          three were in their 20s. Of the 56 almost half -24- were judges and
          lawyers. Eleven were merchants, 9 were landowners and farmers, and
          the remaining 12 were doctors, ministers, and politicians. With only
          a few exceptions, such as Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, these were
          men of substantial property. All but two had families. The vast
          majority were men of education and standing in their communities.
          They had economic security as few men had in the 18th century.

          Each had more to lose from revolution than he had to gain by it. John
          Hancock, one of the richest men in America, already had a price of
          500 pounds on his head. He signed in enormous letters so "that his
          Majesty could now read his name without glasses and could now double
          the reward." Ben Franklin wryly noted: "Indeed we must all hang
          together, otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately." Fat
          Benjamin Harrison of Virginia told tiny Elbridge Gerry of
          Massachusetts: "With me it will all be over in a minute, but you ,
          you will be dancing on air an hour after I am gone.

          These men knew what they risked. The penalty for treason was death by
          hanging. And remember: a great British fleet was already at anchor in
          New York Harbor.

          They were sober men. There were no dreamy-eyed intellectuals or draft
          card burners here. They were far from hot-eyed fanatics, yammering
          for an explosion. They simply asked for the status quo. It was change
          they resisted. It was equality with the mother country they desired.
          It was taxation with representation they sought. They were all
          conservatives, yet they rebelled.

          It was principle, not property, that had brought these men to
          Philadelphia. Two of them became presidents of the United States.
          Seven of them became state governors. One died in office as vice
          president of the United States. Several would go on to be U.S.
          Senators. One, the richest man in America, in 1828, founded the
          Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. One, a delegate from Philadelphia, was
          the only real poet, musician and philosopher of the signers (it was
          he, Francis Hopkinson - not Betsy Ross who designed the United States
          flag). Richard Henry Lee, A delegate from Virginia, had introduced
          the resolution to adopt the Declaration of Independence in June of
          1776. He was prophetic in his concluding remarks:

          "Why then sir, why do we longer delay? Why still deliberate? Let this
          happy day give birth to an American Republic. Let her arise not to
          devastate and to conquer but to reestablish the reign of peace and
          law. The eyes of Europe are fixed upon us. She demands of us a living
          example of freedom that may exhibit a contrast in the felicity of the
          citizen to the ever increasing tyranny which desolates her polluted
          shores. She invites us to prepare an asylum where the unhappy may
          find solace, and the persecuted repost. If we are not this day
          wanting in our duty, the names of the American Legislatures of 1776
          will be placed by posterity at the side of all of those whose memory
          has been and ever will be dear to virtuous men and good citizens."

          Though the resolution was formally adopted July 4, it was not until
          July 8 that two of the states authorized their delegates to sign, and
          it was not until August 2 that the signers met at Philadelphia to
          actually put their names to the Declaration.

          William Ellery, delegate from Rhode Island, was curious to see the
          signers' faces as they committed this supreme act of personal
          courage. He saw some men sign quickly, "but in no face was he able to
          discern real fear." Stephan Hopkins, Ellery's colleague from Rhode
          Island, was a man past 60. As he signed with a shaking pen, he
          declared: "My hand trembles, but my heart does not."

          Even before the list was published, the British marked down every
          member of Congress suspected of having put his name to treason. All
          of them became the objects of vicious manhunts. Some were taken.
          Some, like Jefferson, had narrow escapes. All who had property or
          families near British strongholds suffered.

          Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of
          wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and
          imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives,
          sons or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were
          brutally treated. All were at one time or another the victims of
          manhunts and driven from their homes. Twelve signers had their homes
          completely burned. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one
          defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor, and the
          nation they sacrificed so much to create is still intact.

          The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence proved by their
          every deed that they made no idle boast when they composed the most
          magnificent curtain line in history. "And for the support of this
          Declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine
          providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes,
          and our sacred honor."

          - Rush H. Limbaugh, Jr.

          My friends, I know you have a copy of the Declaration of Independence
          somewhere around the house - in an old history book (newer ones may
          well omit it), an encyclopedia, or one of those artificially
          aged "parchments" we all got in school years ago. I suggest that
          each of you take the time this month to read through the text of the
          declaration, one of the most noble and beautiful political documents
          in human history.

          There is no more profound sentence than this: "We hold these truths
          to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are
          endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among
          these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness?"

          These are far more than mere poetic words. The underlying ideas that
          infuse every sentence of this treatise have sustained this nation for
          more than two centuries. They were forged in the crucible of great
          sacrifice. They are living words that spring from and satisfy the
          deepest cries for liberty in the human spirit.

          "Sacred honor" isn't a phrase we use much these days, but every
          America Life is touched by the bounty of this, the Founders' legacy.
          It is freedom, tested by blood, and watered with tears.

          -Rush Limbaugh, As published in "The Limbaugh Letter" July 1996
          edition

          ______________________________________________________________________
          __________________

          Copyright © 1998 - 2007 by Stephen J. Hall - Notes from the Valley
          and Humor from the Valley are meant to brighten your day and
          encourage you along the way. If you are blessed by them, please feel
          free to make copies and pass them along to others. If you have
          something you'd like to contribute to a future edition or would like
          to ask us a question or make a comment, please contact us at:
          steveh.rbis@...
          ______________________________________________________________
          __________________________

          Your love, God, is my song, and I'll sing it! I'm forever telling
          everyone how faithful you are. I'll never quit telling the story of
          your love . . . (Psalm 89:1-2 The Message)
        • Stephen J. Hall
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY June 30, 2008 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
          Message 4 of 8 , Jun 30, 2008
          • 0 Attachment
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
            June 30, 2008

            "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
            I will fear no evil for you are with me." Psalm 23.

            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


            The Price of Freedom


            It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and
            do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery . . .
            You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your
            freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in
            love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your
            neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:1 and 13-14

            Two hundred and thirty-two years ago, men fought a war because they
            believed in their right to be free. They took a stand for freedom
            against the tyrant king of England and paid the ultimate price for
            what they believed. Upon the foundation of their faith, tyranny was
            defeated and we regained our right to be free. Next Friday, on
            Independence Day, we celebrate their victory.

            Two thousand years ago, a man named Jesus fought a spiritual war
            because He believed in the right God had given all His children to be
            free. He took a stand for freedom against the tyrant Prince of this
            World and paid the ultimate price for what He believed. Upon the
            foundation of His faith, tyranny was defeated and we regained our
            right to be free. At Easter, the Christian world celebrates His
            victory.

            Any student of history knows that the Revolutionary War did not make
            this nation free. Any student of the Bible also knows that the
            spiritual war Jesus won did not make all God's children free either.
            There is a wide canyon of difference between the right to be free and
            actual freedom. That canyon is only bridged when we reach out to
            claim what is rightfully ours. And once that bridge head is
            established, it must be held on to, maintained and defended against
            the elements of tyranny that will inevitably come to tear it down.

            Since the revolution, the men and women of this nation have fought in
            a civil war, two world wars, and numerous "regional" conflicts to
            defeat a variety of earthly tyrants. Since the first Easter, men
            and women have fought a continuing spiritual battle against the one
            who prowls "around like a roaring lion looking for someone to
            devour" (1 Peter 5:8). The history of this planet bears witness to
            the truth that wherever men and women are free there will be tyrants
            enough seeking to take that freedom away. But it is equally true
            that tyrants (earthly and spiritual) will never find a victory as
            long as there are people who share the same selfless faith first
            demonstrated by Jesus on the cross at Calvary and then mirrored by
            the patriots at Valley Forge.

            I hope all of you have a wonderful Independence Day. As you watch
            the fireworks light up the night sky, please join me in a heartfelt
            prayer of thanks to our Father. Thanks for our freedom. Thanks for
            those who have defended it in the past and those who defend it still
            today. And most of all - thanks for His Son and the love that sent
            Him to this world to set us free.

            Sheltered under His wing and overwhelmed by His love,
            Steve


            Please visit the following site: http://patriotfiles.org/Pledge.htm

            It was a glorious morning. The sun was shining and the wind was from
            the southeast . . . Thomas Jefferson arrived early at the
            statehouse. The temperature was 72.5 degrees and the horseflies
            weren't nearly so bad at that hour. It was a lovely room, very large,
            with gleaming white walls. The chairs were comfortable. The moment
            the door was shut, and it was always kept locked, the room became an
            oven. The tall windows were shut, so that loud quarreling voices
            could not be heard by passersby. Small openings atop the windows
            allowed a slight stir of air, and also a large number of horseflies.
            Jefferson records that "the horseflies were dexterous in finding
            necks, and the silk of stocking was nothing to them." All discussion
            was punctuated by the slap of hands on necks.

            The Declaration of Independence was read aloud once more, and debate
            resumed. Though Jefferson was the best writer of all of them, he had
            been somewhat verbose. Congress hacked the excess away. They did a
            good job, as a side-by-side comparison of the rough draft and the
            final text shows. Here in this hall Patrick Henry had once
            thundered: " I am no longer a Virginian, Sir, but an American." But
            today the loud, sometimes bitter argument stilled, and without
            fanfare the vote was taken from north to south by colonies, as was
            the custom. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was
            adopted.

            There were no trumpets blown. No one stood on his chair and cheered.
            The afternoon was waning and Congress had no thought of delaying the
            full calendar of routine business on its hands. For several hours
            they worked on many other problems before adjourning for the day.

            What kind of men were the 56 signers who adopted the Declaration of
            Independence and who, by their signing, committed an act of treason
            against the crown? I imagine that many of you are somewhat surprised
            at the names not there: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton,
            Patrick Henry. All were elsewhere.

            Ben Franklin was the only really old man. Eighteen were under 40;
            three were in their 20s. Of the 56 almost half -24- were judges and
            lawyers. Eleven were merchants, 9 were landowners and farmers, and
            the remaining 12 were doctors, ministers, and politicians. With only
            a few exceptions, such as Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, these were
            men of substantial property. All but two had families. The vast
            majority were men of education and standing in their communities.
            They had economic security as few men had in the 18th century.

            Each had more to lose from revolution than he had to gain by it. John
            Hancock, one of the richest men in America, already had a price of
            500 pounds on his head. He signed in enormous letters so "that his
            Majesty could now read his name without glasses and could now double
            the reward." Ben Franklin wryly noted: "Indeed we must all hang
            together, otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately." Fat
            Benjamin Harrison of Virginia told tiny Elbridge Gerry of
            Massachusetts: "With me it will all be over in a minute, but you ,
            you will be dancing on air an hour after I am gone.

            These men knew what they risked. The penalty for treason was death by
            hanging. And remember: a great British fleet was already at anchor in
            New York Harbor.

            They were sober men. There were no dreamy-eyed intellectuals or draft
            card burners here. They were far from hot-eyed fanatics, yammering
            for an explosion. They simply asked for the status quo. It was change
            they resisted. It was equality with the mother country they desired.
            It was taxation with representation they sought. They were all
            conservatives, yet they rebelled.

            It was principle, not property, that had brought these men to
            Philadelphia. Two of them became presidents of the United States.
            Seven of them became state governors. One died in office as vice
            president of the United States. Several would go on to be U.S.
            Senators. One, the richest man in America, in 1828, founded the
            Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. One, a delegate from Philadelphia, was
            the only real poet, musician and philosopher of the signers (it was
            he, Francis Hopkinson - not Betsy Ross who designed the United States
            flag). Richard Henry Lee, A delegate from Virginia, had introduced
            the resolution to adopt the Declaration of Independence in June of
            1776. He was prophetic in his concluding remarks:

            "Why then sir, why do we longer delay? Why still deliberate? Let this
            happy day give birth to an American Republic. Let her arise not to
            devastate and to conquer but to reestablish the reign of peace and
            law. The eyes of Europe are fixed upon us. She demands of us a living
            example of freedom that may exhibit a contrast in the felicity of the
            citizen to the ever increasing tyranny which desolates her polluted
            shores. She invites us to prepare an asylum where the unhappy may
            find solace, and the persecuted repost. If we are not this day
            wanting in our duty, the names of the American Legislatures of 1776
            will be placed by posterity at the side of all of those whose memory
            has been and ever will be dear to virtuous men and good citizens."

            Though the resolution was formally adopted July 4, it was not until
            July 8 that two of the states authorized their delegates to sign, and
            it was not until August 2 that the signers met at Philadelphia to
            actually put their names to the Declaration.

            William Ellery, delegate from Rhode Island, was curious to see the
            signers' faces as they committed this supreme act of personal
            courage. He saw some men sign quickly, "but in no face was he able to
            discern real fear." Stephan Hopkins, Ellery's colleague from Rhode
            Island, was a man past 60. As he signed with a shaking pen, he
            declared: "My hand trembles, but my heart does not."

            Even before the list was published, the British marked down every
            member of Congress suspected of having put his name to treason. All
            of them became the objects of vicious manhunts. Some were taken.
            Some, like Jefferson, had narrow escapes. All who had property or
            families near British strongholds suffered.

            Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of
            wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and
            imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives,
            sons or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were
            brutally treated. All were at one time or another the victims of
            manhunts and driven from their homes. Twelve signers had their homes
            completely burned. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one
            defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor, and the
            nation they sacrificed so much to create is still intact.

            The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence proved by their
            every deed that they made no idle boast when they composed the most
            magnificent curtain line in history. "And for the support of this
            Declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine
            providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes,
            and our sacred honor."

            My friends, I know you have a copy of the Declaration of Independence
            somewhere around the house - in an old history book (newer ones may
            well omit it), an encyclopedia, or one of those artificially
            aged "parchments" we all got in school years ago. I suggest that
            each of you take the time this month to read through the text of the
            declaration, one of the most noble and beautiful political documents
            in human history.

            There is no more profound sentence than this: "We hold these truths
            to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are
            endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among
            these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness?"

            These are far more than mere poetic words. The underlying ideas that
            infuse every sentence of this treatise have sustained this nation for
            more than two centuries. They were forged in the crucible of great
            sacrifice. They are living words that spring from and satisfy the
            deepest cries for liberty in the human spirit.

            "Sacred honor" isn't a phrase we use much these days, but every
            American Life is touched by the bounty of this, the Founders' legacy.
            It is freedom, tested by blood, and watered with tears.

            -Rush Limbaugh, As published in "The Limbaugh Letter" July 1996
            edition


            ______________________________________________________________________
            ___

            Copyright © 1998 - 2008 by Stephen J. Hall - Letters of
            encouragement to Christians written by Stephen J. Hall unless
            otherwise indicated. Notes from the Valley and Humor from the Valley
            are meant to brighten your day and encourage you along the way. If
            you are blessed by them, please feel free to make copies and pass
            them along to others. If you have something you'd like to contribute
            to a future edition or would like to ask us a question or make a
            comment, please contact us at: steveh.rbis@...
            ______________________________________________________________________
            ____

            Your love, God, is my song, and I'll sing it! I'm forever telling
            everyone how faithful you are. I'll never quit telling the story of
            your love . . . ". (Psalm 89:1-3)
          • Stephen J. Hall
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY July 4, 2009 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
            Message 5 of 8 , Jul 2, 2009
            • 0 Attachment
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

              NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
              July 4, 2009

              "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
              I will fear no evil for you are with me." Psalm 23.

              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


              THE PRICE OF FREEDOM


              It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery . . . You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:1 and 13-14

              Two hundred and thirty-three years ago, men fought a war because they believed in their right to be free. They took a stand for freedom against the tyrant king of England and paid the ultimate price for what they believed. Upon the foundation of their faith, tyranny was defeated and we regained our right to be free. Next Friday, on Independence Day, we celebrate their victory.

              Two thousand years ago, a man named Jesus fought a spiritual war because He believed in the right God had given all His children to be free. He took a stand for freedom against the tyrant Prince of this World and paid the ultimate price for what He believed. Upon the foundation of His faith, tyranny was defeated and we regained our right to be free. At Easter, the Christian world celebrates His victory.

              Any student of history knows that the Revolutionary War did not make this nation free. Any student of the Bible also knows that the spiritual war Jesus won did not make all God's children free. There is a wide canyon of difference between the right to be free and actual freedom. That canyon is only bridged when we reach out to claim what is rightfully ours. And once that bridge head is established, it must be held on to, maintained and defended against the elements of tyranny that will inevitably come to tear it down.

              Since the revolution, the men and women of this nation have fought in a civil war, two world wars, and numerous "regional" conflicts to defeat a variety of earthly tyrants. Since the first Easter, men and women have fought a continuing spiritual battle against the one who prowls "around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). The history of this planet bears witness to the truth that wherever men and women are free there will be tyrants enough seeking to take that freedom away. But it is equally true that tyrants (earthly and spiritual) will never find a victory as long as there are people who share the same selfless faith first demonstrated by Jesus on the cross at Calvary and then mirrored by the patriots at Valley Forge.

              I hope all of you have a wonderful Independence Day. As you watch the fireworks light up the night sky tonight, please join me in a heartfelt prayer of thanks to our Father. Thanks for our freedom. Thanks for those who have defended it in the past and those who defend it still today. And most of all - thanks for His Son and for the love and grace that sent Him to this world to set us free.

              Sheltered under His wing and overwhelmed by His love,
              Steve


              It was a glorious morning. The sun was shining and the wind was from the southeast . . . Thomas Jefferson arrived early at the statehouse. The temperature was 72.5 degrees and the horseflies weren't nearly so bad at that hour. It was a lovely room, very large, with gleaming white walls. The chairs were comfortable. The moment the door was shut, and it was always kept locked, the room became an oven. The tall windows were shut, so that loud quarreling voices could not be heard by passersby. Small openings atop the windows allowed a slight stir of air, and also a large number of horseflies. Jefferson records that "the horseflies were dexterous in finding necks, and the silk of stocking was nothing to them." All discussion was punctuated by the slap of hands on necks.

              The Declaration of Independence was read aloud once more, and debate resumed. Though Jefferson was the best writer of all of them, he had been somewhat verbose. Congress hacked the excess away. They did a good job, as a side-by-side comparison of the rough draft and the final text shows. Here in this hall Patrick Henry had once thundered: " I am no longer a Virginian, Sir, but an American." But today the loud, sometimes bitter argument stilled, and without fanfare the vote was taken from north to south by colonies, as was the custom. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted.

              There were no trumpets blown. No one stood on his chair and cheered. The afternoon was waning and Congress had no thought of delaying the full calendar of routine business on its hands. For several hours they worked on many other problems before adjourning for the day.

              What kind of men were the 56 signers who adopted the Declaration of Independence and who, by their signing, committed an act of treason against the crown? I imagine that many of you are somewhat surprised at the names not there: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Patrick Henry. All were elsewhere.

              Ben Franklin was the only really old man. Eighteen were under 40; three were in their 20s. Of the 56 almost half -24- were judges and lawyers. Eleven were merchants, 9 were landowners and farmers, and the remaining 12 were doctors, ministers, and politicians. With only a few exceptions, such as Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, these were men of substantial property. All but two had families. The vast majority were men of education and standing in their communities. They had economic security as few men had in the 18th century.


              Each had more to lose from revolution than he had to gain by it. John Hancock, one of the richest men in America, already had a price of 500 pounds on his head. He signed in enormous letters so "that his Majesty could now read his name without glasses and could now double the reward." Ben Franklin wryly noted: "Indeed we must all hang together, otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately." Fat Benjamin Harrison of Virginia told tiny Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts: "With me it will all be over in a minute, but you , you will be dancing on air an hour after I am gone.

              These men knew what they risked. The penalty for treason was death by hanging. And remember: a great British fleet was already at anchor in New York Harbor.

              They were sober men. There were no dreamy-eyed intellectuals or draft card burners here. They were far from hot-eyed fanatics, yammering for an explosion. They simply asked for the status quo. It was change they resisted. It was equality with the mother country they desired. It was taxation with representation they sought. They were all conservatives, yet they rebelled.

              It was principle, not property, that had brought these men to Philadelphia. Two of them became presidents of the United States. Seven of them became state governors. One died in office as vice president of the United States. Several would go on to be U.S. Senators. One, the richest man in America, in 1828, founded the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. One, a delegate from Philadelphia, was the only real poet, musician and philosopher of the signers (it was he, Francis Hopkinson - not Betsy Ross who designed the United States flag). Richard Henry Lee, A delegate from Virginia, had introduced the resolution to adopt the Declaration of Independence in June of 1776. He was prophetic in his concluding remarks:

              "Why then sir, why do we longer delay? Why still deliberate? Let this happy day give birth to an American Republic. Let her arise not to devastate and to conquer but to reestablish the reign of peace and law. The eyes of Europe are fixed upon us. She demands of us a living example of freedom that may exhibit a contrast in the felicity of the citizen to the ever increasing tyranny which desolates her polluted shores. She invites us to prepare an asylum where the unhappy may find solace, and the persecuted repost. If we are not this day wanting in our duty, the names of the American Legislatures of 1776 will be placed by posterity at the side of all of those whose memory has been and ever will be dear to virtuous men and good citizens."

              Though the resolution was formally adopted July 4, it was not until July 8 that two of the states authorized their delegates to sign, and it was not until August 2 that the signers met at Philadelphia to actually put their names to the Declaration.

              William Ellery, delegate from Rhode Island, was curious to see the signers' faces as they committed this supreme act of personal courage. He saw some men sign quickly, "but in no face was he able to discern real fear." Stephan Hopkins, Ellery's colleague from Rhode Island, was a man past 60. As he signed with a shaking pen, he declared: "My hand trembles, but my heart does not."

              Even before the list was published, the British marked down every member of Congress suspected of having put his name to treason. All of them became the objects of vicious manhunts. Some were taken. Some, like Jefferson, had narrow escapes. All who had property or families near British strongholds suffered.

              Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives, sons or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were brutally treated. All were at one time or another the victims of manhunts and driven from their homes. Twelve signers had their homes completely burned. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor, and the nation they sacrificed so much to create is still intact.

              The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence proved by their every deed that they made no idle boast when they composed the most magnificent curtain line in history. "And for the support of this Declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

              My friends, I know you have a copy of the Declaration of Independence somewhere around the house - in an old history book (newer ones may well omit it), an encyclopedia, or one of those artificially aged "parchments" we all got in school years ago. I suggest that each of you take the time this month to read through the text of the declaration, one of the most noble and beautiful political documents in human history.

              There is no more profound sentence than this: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness?"

              These are far more than mere poetic words. The underlying ideas that infuse every sentence of this treatise have sustained this nation for more than two centuries. They were forged in the crucible of great sacrifice. They are living words that spring from and satisfy the deepest cries for liberty in the human spirit.

              "Sacred honor" isn't a phrase we use much these days, but every American Life is touched by the bounty of this, the Founders' legacy. It is freedom, tested by blood, and watered with tears.

              -Rush Limbaugh, As published in "The Limbaugh Letter" July 1996 edition


              _______________________________________________

              Copyright © 1998 - 2009 by Stephen J. Hall - Letters of encouragement to Christians written by Stephen J. Hall unless otherwise indicated. Notes from the Valley and Humor from the Valley are meant to brighten your day and encourage you along the way. If you are blessed by them, please feel free to make copies and pass them along to others. If you have something you'd like to contribute to a future edition or would like to ask us a question or make a comment, please contact us at: steveh.rbis@...
              _______________________________________________

              Your love, God, is my song, and I'll sing it! I'm forever telling everyone how faithful you are. I'll never quit telling the story of your love . . . ". (Psalm 89:1-3)
            • sossteve2005
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY July 4, 2010 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
              Message 6 of 8 , Jul 2, 2010
              • 0 Attachment
                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
                July 4, 2010

                "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
                I will fear no evil for you are with me." Psalm 23.

                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                THE PRICE OF FREEDOM

                It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery . . . You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:1 and 13-14

                Two hundred and thirty-four years ago, men fought a war because they believed in their right to be free. They took a stand for freedom against the tyrant king of England and paid the ultimate price for what they believed. Upon the foundation of their faith, tyranny was defeated and we regained our right to be free. Next Friday, on Independence Day, we celebrate their victory.

                Over two thousand years ago, a man named Jesus fought a spiritual war because He believed in the right God had given all His children to be free. He took a stand for freedom against the tyrant Prince of this World and paid the ultimate price for what He believed. Upon the foundation of His faith, tyranny was defeated and we regained our right to be free. At Easter, the Christian world celebrates His victory.

                Any student of history knows that the Revolutionary War did not make this nation free. Any student of the Bible also knows that the spiritual war Jesus won did not make all God's children free. There is a wide canyon of difference between the right to be free and actual freedom. That canyon is only bridged when we reach out to claim what is rightfully ours. And once that bridge head is established, it must be held on to, maintained and defended against the elements of tyranny that will inevitably come to tear it down.

                Since the revolution, the men and women of this nation have fought in a civil war, two world wars, and numerous "regional" conflicts to defeat a variety of earthly tyrants. Since the first Easter, men and women have fought a continuing spiritual battle against the one who prowls "around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). The history of this planet bears witness to the truth that wherever men and women are free there will be tyrants enough seeking to take that freedom away. But it is equally true that tyrants (earthly and spiritual) will never find a victory as long as there are people who share the same selfless faith first demonstrated by Jesus on the cross at Calvary and then mirrored by the patriots at Valley Forge.

                I hope all of you have a wonderful Independence Day. As you watch the fireworks light up the night sky Sunday, please join me in a heartfelt prayer of thanks to our Father. Thanks for our freedom. Thanks for those who have defended it in the past and those who defend it still today. And most of all - thanks for His Son and for the love and grace that sent Him to this world to set us free.

                Sheltered under His wing and overwhelmed by His love,
                Steve


                It was a glorious morning. The sun was shining and the wind was from the southeast . . . Thomas Jefferson arrived early at the statehouse. The temperature was 72.5 degrees and the horseflies weren't nearly so bad at that hour. It was a lovely room, very large, with gleaming white walls. The chairs were comfortable. The moment the door was shut, and it was always kept locked, the room became an oven. The tall windows were shut, so that loud quarreling voices could not be heard by passersby. Small openings atop the windows allowed a slight stir of air, and also a large number of horseflies. Jefferson records that "the horseflies were dexterous in finding necks, and the silk of stocking was nothing to them." All discussion was punctuated by the slap of hands on necks.

                The Declaration of Independence was read aloud once more, and debate resumed. Though Jefferson was the best writer of all of them, he had been somewhat verbose. Congress hacked the excess away. They did a good job, as a side-by-side comparison of the rough draft and the final text shows. Here in this hall Patrick Henry had once thundered: " I am no longer a Virginian, Sir, but an American." But today the loud, sometimes bitter argument stilled, and without fanfare the vote was taken from north to south by colonies, as was the custom. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted.

                There were no trumpets blown. No one stood on his chair and cheered. The afternoon was waning and Congress had no thought of delaying the full calendar of routine business on its hands. For several hours they worked on many other problems before adjourning for the day.

                What kind of men were the 56 signers who adopted the Declaration of Independence and who, by their signing, committed an act of treason against the crown? I imagine that many of you are somewhat surprised at the names not there: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Patrick Henry. All were elsewhere.

                Ben Franklin was the only really old man. Eighteen were under 40; three were in their 20s. Of the 56 almost half - 24 - were judges and lawyers. Eleven were merchants, 9 were landowners and farmers, and the remaining 12 were doctors, ministers, and politicians. With only a few exceptions, such as Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, these were men of substantial property. All but two had families. The vast majority were men of education and standing in their communities. They had economic security as few men had in the 18th century.

                Each had more to lose from revolution than he had to gain by it. John Hancock, one of the richest men in America, already had a price of 500 pounds on his head. He signed in enormous letters so "that his Majesty could now read his name without glasses and could now double the reward." Ben Franklin wryly noted: "Indeed we must all hang together, otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately." Fat Benjamin Harrison of Virginia told tiny Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts: "With me it will all be over in a minute, but you , you will be dancing on air an hour after I am gone.

                These men knew what they risked. The penalty for treason was death by hanging. And remember: a great British fleet was already at anchor in New York Harbor.

                They were sober men. There were no dreamy-eyed intellectuals or draft card burners here. They were far from hot-eyed fanatics, yammering for an explosion. They simply asked for the status quo. It was change they resisted. It was equality with the mother country they desired. It was taxation with representation they sought. They were all conservatives, yet they rebelled.

                It was principle, not property, that had brought these men to Philadelphia. Two of them became presidents of the United States. Seven of them became state governors. One died in office as vice president of the United States. Several would go on to be U.S. Senators. One, the richest man in America, in 1828, founded the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. One, a delegate from Philadelphia, was the only real poet, musician and philosopher of the signers (it was he, Francis Hopkinson - not Betsy Ross who designed the United States flag). Richard Henry Lee, A delegate from Virginia, had introduced the resolution to adopt the Declaration of Independence in June of 1776. He was prophetic in his concluding remarks:

                "Why then sir, why do we longer delay? Why still deliberate? Let this happy day give birth to an American Republic. Let her arise not to devastate and to conquer but to reestablish the reign of peace and law. The eyes of Europe are fixed upon us. She demands of us a living example of freedom that may exhibit a contrast in the felicity of the citizen to the ever increasing tyranny which desolates her polluted shores. She invites us to prepare an asylum where the unhappy may find solace, and the persecuted repost. If we are not this day wanting in our duty, the names of the American Legislatures of 1776 will be placed by posterity at the side of all of those whose memory has been and ever will be dear to virtuous men and good citizens."

                Though the resolution was formally adopted July 4, it was not until July 8 that two of the states authorized their delegates to sign, and it was not until August 2 that the signers met at Philadelphia to actually put their names to the Declaration.

                William Ellery, delegate from Rhode Island, was curious to see the signers' faces as they committed this supreme act of personal courage. He saw some men sign quickly, "but in no face was he able to discern real fear." Stephan Hopkins, Ellery's colleague from Rhode Island, was a man past 60. As he signed with a shaking pen, he declared: "My hand trembles, but my heart does not."

                Even before the list was published, the British marked down every member of Congress suspected of having put his name to treason. All of them became the objects of vicious manhunts. Some were taken. Some, like Jefferson, had narrow escapes. All who had property or families near British strongholds suffered.

                Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives, sons or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were brutally treated. All were at one time or another the victims of manhunts and driven from their homes. Twelve signers had their homes completely burned. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor, and the nation they sacrificed so much to create is still intact.

                The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence proved by their every deed that they made no idle boast when they composed the most magnificent curtain line in history. "And for the support of this Declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

                My friends, I know you have a copy of the Declaration of Independence somewhere around the house - in an old history book (newer ones may well omit it), an encyclopedia, or one of those artificially aged "parchments" we all got in school years ago. I suggest that each of you take the time this month to read through the text of the declaration, one of the most noble and beautiful political documents in human history.

                There is no more profound sentence than this: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness?"

                These are far more than mere poetic words. The underlying ideas that infuse every sentence of this treatise have sustained this nation for more than two centuries. They were forged in the crucible of great sacrifice. They are living words that spring from and satisfy the deepest cries for liberty in the human spirit.

                "Sacred honor" isn't a phrase we use much these days, but every American Life is touched by the bounty of this, the Founders' legacy. It is freedom, tested by blood, and watered with tears.

                -Rush Limbaugh, As published in "The Limbaugh Letter" July 1996 edition


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                Copyright © 1998 - 2010 by Stephen J. Hall - Letters of encouragement to Christians written by Stephen J. Hall unless otherwise indicated. Notes from the Valley and Humor from the Valley are meant to brighten your day and encourage you along the way. If you are blessed by them, please feel free to make copies and pass them along to others. If you have something you'd like to contribute to a future edition or would like to ask us a question or make a comment, please contact us at: steveh.rbis@...
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                Your love, God, is my song, and I'll sing it! I'm forever telling everyone how faithful you are. I'll never quit telling the story of your love . . . ". (Psalm 89:1-3)
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